PHARMACY

COPD now No. 3 leading cause of death among Americans

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the third-leading cause of death in the United States, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics released the report Friday, which showed that COPD became the third-leading cause of death in 2008, but it was expected to reach that rank in 2020. COPD is a collective term for such respiratory diseases as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis, and affects around 24 million Americans.

“It’s unacceptable that COPD has gone from [the] fourth- to the third-leading cause 12 years sooner than originally projected,” COPD Foundation co-founder and president John Walsh said. “This wake-up call intensifies our declaration of war on COPD and points to the importance of increasing awareness, prevention, detection and treatment to reduce the burden of COPD.”

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Special Diabetes Program reauthorized by Congress

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A decision by Congress to reauthorize the Special Diabetes Program has drawn praise from the American Diabetes Association.

The program was part of the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010 and will ensure continuance through 2013 of the Special Diabetes Program for American Indians while providing $150 million per year in funding.

Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes, while another 57 million are prediabetic, with Native Americans and Alaska Natives having the highest age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes among all U.S. racial and ethnic groups, according to the ADA.

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Gout treatment market to be driven by biotech drugs, Decision Resources finds

BY Alaric DeArment

BURLINGTON, Mass. — Biotech drugs will help drive the markets for acute and chronic gout through 2019, according to a new report by market research firm Decision Resources.

The report, titled “Acute and Chronic Gout — New Agents Target Refractory Patients and Tap Market Opportunity,” found that the acute gout drug market would triple in size to $117 million, while the chronic gout market would reach $1.83 billion.

High-priced biotech drugs would help drive the market. The latest approved drug for chronic gout is Savient Pharmaceuticals’ Krystexxa (pegloticase), while Novartis’ Ilaris (canakinumab) and Regeneron’s Arcalyst (rilonacept) are under development for acute gout.

“These high-priced agents will be reserved for small segments of the population,” Decision Resources analyst Matthew Scutcher said. “Krystexxa will be used predominantly in patients with severe treatment-refractory chronic gout, while Ilaris and Acalyst will likely be used adjunctively with uricase-lowering treatment for patients who experience severe and frequent acute attacks.”

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